Deputy Michael O'Leary was in possession.
Safety in Industry Bill, 1978: Second Stage (Resumed).
I am not very au fait with procedures but I do not think Deputy O'Leary had finished what he wanted to say. He has a great deal to say on this Bill. We were not aware business would collapse so soon.
We can wait.
This is a departure from normal procedure.
This is a courtesy the House can extend.
I apologise on behalf of my colleague. The Government Whip did apologise to our Whip because of a lack of clarity.
For what reason and why should or did the Government Whip apologise to anybody?
With respect, I suggest the Minister might take that up with the Chief Whip on the Government side.
The Chief Whip can look after his own affairs. I do not look after them for him.
The Deputy in possession need not necessarily be here. Any other Deputy may offer.
This is a most comprehensive Bill. In his introductory speech on 25 April the Minister dealt at considerable length with a number of improvements from the point of view of safety in industry. The improvements are ones to be commended but I believe there are further improvements that should be included and I shall elaborate on them later. Any improvements designed to safeguard workers are important. Any improvements in working conditions are also important. The Factories Act, 1955, is a very elaborate Act but it is 23 years old now and it requires to be updated. Again, we must welcome any improvement which will bring it up to present-day standards where we use modern technology.
I am happy to see improvements being made and also that an effort is being made to make workers' employment safer. When this Bill is passed I would not like to see a situation where, due to lack of adequate trained personnel in the Department, this legislation could not be enforced. This is very important.
The measures proposed in this Bill are very wide-ranging and deal with noise, safety to eyes, safety with regard to lifting equipment, work on docks, quays and warehouses, fire-escapes, warning of fires, testing of machinery, lifting of cranes and weighing machines and the removal of inflammable and corrosive substances. To enforce these regulations the Minister will have to employ many skilled personnel. He, I am sure, will agree that this is essential and I hope when he closes this debate he will deal in considerable detail with the numbers of additional personnel who will need to be employed.
I want to raise one point on which the Minister might think over the next few days. This Bill deals with industry in general. We have a music industry. Does this Bill encompass dance halls, lounge bars and so on? Recently I was attending a function with a group of doctors——
Participating or attending?
Anything I attend I participate in.
The Deputy should not say where.
A dose of Saturday night fever?
The point I want to get across to the Minister is that the hearing of our youth is in serious danger. There is a danger that in years ahead we will have a generation coming out of dance halls and lounge bars whose hearing will have been impaired by 20 or 30 degrees. Have the Department made a study of this, or perhaps this comes under the Department of Health? The music industry is expanding and affects thousands of people. The musical instruments and equipment, hi-fi and the elaborate gear used by bands for putting across louder and louder sounds is far above the normal that can be listened to comfortably. The group of doctors told me they felt this was causing serious injury to the present generation of young people.
I will be returning to this at a later stage because it is essential that some effort be made by the Department to ensure that the sound in dance halls, lounge bars and so on is kept to a reasonable level. Young boys and girls are very happy to go to these places. I appreciate that and understand it and participate myself but we will still have to make some effort to ensure that their hearing in later life is not impaired by excessive noise.